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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

Friday, July 20, 2012 (AM)

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

Opening Statement by Chief Cabinet Secretary Fujimura

  • An overview of a Cabinet meeting
  • A meeting of the Ministerial Council on Prices
  • A meeting of the Consumer Policy Council
  • A meeting of the Ministerial Meeting Concerning Measures Against Crime

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I would first like to give an overview of the Cabinet meeting. The meeting approved two general measures and also cabinet orders and personnel decisions. With regard to statements by ministers, Deputy Prime Minister Katsuya Okada made a statement concerning the partial amendment of the Basic Policies on Public Service Reform, and Minister Jin Matsubara made a statement concerning the verification, evaluation, and review of the Consumer Basic Plan.

Before the Cabinet meeting, a meeting of the Ministerial Council on Prices was convened. At today's meeting, the Ministerial Council consented to approving the appraisal policy of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) pertaining to an application for approval of changes to the supply provisions. The extent of the electricity price hike was trimmed from the initial 10.28%, which TEPCO applied for, to 8.47%, by reducing the salaries of TEPCO's management by more than 30% compared to before the earthquake disaster, among other methods. This means that the appraisal amount will be reduced by around 83 billion yen. For details, I ask that you please direct your questions to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In addition, a meeting of the Consumer Policy Council was held. At today's meeting, a proposal to partially amend the Consumer Basic Plan was prepared. This was then decided at the Cabinet meeting which followed. This is a five-year basic plan, which was decided in March 2010. The proposal was prepared in light of the results of the verification and assessment of the Basic Plan's implementation status in FY2011, as part of the annual review of the Basic Plan. At the meeting, the Prime Minister, who serves as the Chair of the Council, issued instructions, including instructions to address, with priority, the issue of food and radiation as well as fraudulent practices which target the post-retirement funds of the elderly. In this light, it was decided that Minister of State for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety Matsubara will lead efforts to compile by this fall an action plan to reassure consumers, which will concern risk communication on food and radiation and ways to prevent consumer problems involving the elderly. For details, I ask that you please direct your questions to the Consumer Affairs Agency.

I have one more announcement regarding a meeting of the Ministerial Meeting Concerning Measures Against Crime which was held. At the meeting of the Ministerial Meeting, Comprehensive Measures for the Prevention of Repeat Offenses was decided. The percentage, for instance, of those who return to prison within two years of their release is high. Therefore, it was decided that measures will be taken to prevent repeat offenses, with a quantitative goal set to decrease this percentage by more than 20% over the next decade. In addition, a report was given on the progress of various crime measures. The Secretariat is scheduled to later hold a briefing regarding the contents of the meeting of the Ministerial Meeting. For details, I ask that you please ask questions at the briefing.


  • The deployment of Osprey aircraft to Okinawa
  • The situation in Syria


REPORTER: Regarding Osprey, it is reported that the aircraft will be deployed and arrive (at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni) by as early as July 23. Can you once again explain how the Government will obtain the understanding of the local residents?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: I believe it was not the media but the Ministry of Defense (MOD) which made this announcement today. According to what the United States (U.S.) has informed us, the unloading is scheduled to take place on Monday, July 23. This scheduled date is subject to change due to weather and other conditions. Furthermore, I am aware that after the unloading, engine adjustments and other activities may be conducted on the ground. Nevertheless, the U.S. Government has said that it will refrain from any flight operations of the Osprey MV-22 in Japan until the results of the investigations into the accidents are presented to the Japanese Government and the safety of flight operations is reconfirmed. To date, I believe I have responded to your question on a number of occasions. In the sense that not only the local residents, but also the members of the National Governors' Association (NGA) expressed concerns at yesterday's meeting of NGA, we will provide careful explanations on the details of the accidents. In addition, Japan will conduct further analysis, and provide and explain carefully this information as quickly as possible.

REPORTER: I would like to ask a related question. According to some reports, there are materials of the U.S. forces which state that 58 "mishaps" involving Ospreys have occurred from 2006 to 2011, including small mishaps. Is the Government aware of this?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: The present explanation in the MOD pamphlet refers to the so-called Class A accidents. However, there are also Class B and Class C accidents. Class B and Class C include a range of "mishaps," including missing small parts and minute damages to the aircraft. I am aware that there are quite a number of such cases, not just with MV-22 but also with other aircrafts. I believe MOD has a detailed understanding of this. In any case, we will continue to provide careful explanations so that the local residents can feel reassured.


REPORTER: I would like to ask a question in regard to the situation in Syria. At the United Nations (UN) Security Council meeting yesterday, the resolution on Syria was defeated again for the third time. China and Russia exercised their veto rights. What are the thoughts of the Japanese Government on this situation?

CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY FUJIMURA: As I have said repeatedly, the situation in Syria is very serious. Many people are being killed in relation to the ongoing oppression, despite the strong urging of the international community. Amid these circumstances, an effective decision was not made regarding this non-dismissible, inhumane situation, due to the exercise of veto rights in the Security Council. This is extremely regrettable. This is when the mandate of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) reaches its expiration date today. I understand that the Security Council is still holding consultations at this time. Japan, while it is not a Security Council member, will continue to be seriously concerned, and collect information through diplomatic channels and make contacts as necessary.


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